Gig Economy

Instacart Rolls Out Insurance, Loan Repayment To Gig Workers

instacart, groceries, delivery, benefits, contractors

To counter criticism of its independent contractor procedures, Instacart announced a series of new benefits for its contract shoppers, VentureBeat reported on Wednesday (Aug. 21). 

The San Francisco-based grocery delivery startup said it is offering new benefits to contractors starting Sept. 3 that include wellness resources, student loan repayment programs, workplace injury coverage and access to Care.com’s provider platform.

In developing the benefit offerings, Instacart conducted months of surveys and focus groups. Most of the survey participants were women with children who said they needed insurance, health and family care offerings.

Instacart said the platform has almost tripled in the last year from 50,000 to 130,000 shoppers.

“Every day, shoppers are choosing Instacart as a flexible way to increase their income and earn on their own terms. These individuals shop for different reasons and play many roles outside of being a shopper — they are parents, entrepreneurs, and students, and they are as diverse as the items in the grocery store,” the company said in a blog post

Instacart made these decisions as online delivery services gain in popularity. Grubhub, Uber Eats and Postmates grew 42 percent from $7.2 billion in 2017 to $10.2 billion in 2018, according to a report published by research firm Technomic. Conversely, wages for employees of driving gigs are down more than half since 2013, about $783 per driver per month in 2017.

“[S]hoppers have told us … that a more holistic approach to the Instacart experience would be beneficial,” wrote Instacart. “This means providing programs and perks that go beyond pay and giving shoppers the support and resources they need to thrive … This is one step in a longer journey to creating new programs and offerings that support shoppers.”

The company came under fire when it was disclosed that it used drivers’ tips to cover base wages. The backlash caused Instacart to change its policy and separate tips from compensation. In addition, it gave drivers back pay and raised minimum batch payments.

The grocery delivery startup also rolled out on-demand shopping for its workers. Instead of signing up for shopping assignments in advance, it’s allowing shoppers to work whenever they want to.

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